In 1973, a group of Hopi artists who were part of the Hopi Arts and Crafts Cooperative Guild, formed a separate group called Artist Hopid.
Terrance Talswaima, Michael Kaboti, Delbridge Honanie, Milland Lomakema and Neil David Sr. were all serious artists, bent on giving new energy and form to traditional Hopi art. Their goal was to teach others about the Hopi ways using art as the medium.
Talswaima and Kaboti have passed on and the group is no longer active, but the work they did was important in bringing awareness to the Hopi beliefs.
Neil David Sr. was first known as a painter. My good friend Byron Hunter, who was the trader at Polacca, remembers small drawings, 1 1/2” x 3” on white cardboard that David created.
“In the 1960s, he was in high school and he did these small paintings for a little spending money. The details on the face were great. He was the best,” Hunter remembers.
Neil has traveled the country and the world sharing his vision of the Hopi culture.
Today, he is best known for his Kachina (Katsina) dolls. We are fortunate to have an Eagle Dancer that is a wonderful example of his work.
Neil David, Sr.
Another of the artists, Milland Lomakema, is a self-taught artist. His collaboration with his fellow Artist Hopid members, along with his knowledge of Hopi life, brought the best out in his work. He had a different kind of background.
He was a member of the Hopi Police force and lived in Phoenix for a while where he worked as a detective. His spare time was spent with his easel.
Both Lomakema and David have won top awards for their art.
You seldom see work by Lomakema today. We are happy to have a painting to share with you. The painting is of a bird (my guess is a turkey!)
Look at the detail in the feathers and the plumage and note the feather hanging from the beak! This is really a unique piece of work.
Artist Hopid didn’t last very long, but every member of the group excelled at their art and brought attention to the Hopi way. It was the perfect time for them to come together.In the early 1970s the country was absorbed in wanting to know more about the Native people of the Southwest. Indian jewelry was beyond popular and this group helped bring some of that attention to the pottery, paintings and other arts and crafts of indigenous people.
They were artists who paved the road and many have followed!